Recently the New York Times ran an article about the struggle many singles face as they attempt to find a post as a pastor only to discover most churches want married people. Steve DeWitt weighed in by saying that his church in Crown Point, Indiana hired a single guy to be a pastor and it was a great blessing - he's the single guy.
Meanwhile the New York Times article maintained an attitude of "woe is me." And Southern Baptist Al Mohler shared his thoughts. So now I'm going to give my thoughts as well. Please note that it's mainly directed at men, but there a few things for the ladies to think about...
What about seeking a post in ALASKA? Is it not a place where mostly men seek in droves to find that yukon gold and adventure in some way shape or form? It is a perfect place for a single man to minister to other men.
How about planting a new church? Buck the system. Think outside the box. Pray for a vision and GO FOR IT. I'm being totally for real.
How badly do some of these men want to be pastors? If they have a gift for preachin' people will come to hear it. Just like if people have a gift for performing and songwriting, people will want to hear that as well.
Think you have a gift for reaching men? Go to the men and just do it. Find someone who shares a that vision to lead worship with just guitar and GO TO IT. Don't let someone else's rules get in your way. You don't need a denomination to back you, you just need a heart to minister to God's people, a calling, and the sword of truth which is the word of God.
Go where you will be great. Tim Keller did not do well in smaller more rural churches. he does great in super-cerebral New York City. But God taught him a great deal in those times of struggling with his natural style of ministry and learning to give what people needed. He spoke about it in depth during a sermon which addressed God's call.
Another thing Redeemer New York talked about was how church plants become self-supporting very quickly. They even have a church planting center which may be supportive of people who aren't PCA. (Presbyterian Church in America) Or find out if there is support for a church plant within your own denomination. See if there is Church for Men that will support you. But really, you don't need a denomination.
It's very punk rock, in a way, to make your own church your own way as long as it's guided by the truth of the Gospel. Punk and post-punk rockers decided to make new music with a new set of rules for a new generation. Some of these groups left an indellible mark on the music of that time. And it was echoed in the Christian music output of the time. In fact, the Christian music scene might not have been so popular in the 1980s and 1990s had punk rock not been so patently offensive to many. Just like the musicians, you might have to have a day job to keep yourself alive for awhile. Maybe it's time for people who feel a calling to preach to start dealing in a new set of rules. Call it Guerilla Church Planting.
Did not some of the greatest spiritual movements begin from a vision which was definitively different from other things out there? You might not agree with them theologically, yet many still left an indellible mark - Shakers, Quakers, Anabaptists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Catholics, Seventh Day Adeventists, Foursquare... they all came from somewhere. Sister Aimee Semple McPherson sure didn't let being single or being female stop her in the 1920s. What's holding you up? Are you still waiting for permission? Pray and get it from God.
This is a bit different, but I am a professional singer. I want to use the gift the Lord gave me and I feel really called to sing. I used to comb the auditions to find an opera or a musical that suited me and then auditioned for roles. Many times I faced not being exactly what they needed while being complimented and thanked for singing so beautifully. I also auditioned for choirs and for worship positions. As soon as I said I was classically trained, some people weren't even interested in hearing me. For a time I wanted to be in a band, no one wanted me to sing in their band. Everyone praised my voice, but no one wanted me to sing backing vocals because they told me I was "too good."
Finally I decided to make my own group. We sing a capella without any instuments and I was the one auditioning people. I'm the one deciding repertoire and I have people who really want to see this, particularly at the church where I do have a position as a section leader. And I believe that there are more people who want to hear this type of group. Coming up with my own vision took being told no. It took a lot of prayer. And yes, we're going to do some Jesus songs and mass setting in among secular folk songs like "Scarborough Fair."
I exhort you all to think outside the box. Please let us all know if anyone is inspired by this.
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